Republicans demand Biden halt vaccine mandates for Border Patrol amid migrant crisis

Graham: Border Patrol are being asked to do the impossible Lindsey Graham reflects on visit to border on ‘Hannity’ FIRST ON FOX : A group of 62 House Republicans, led by Rep. Elise Stefanik , R-NY and Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, are warning President Biden that federal vaccine mandates could lead to the loss of thousands of Border Patrol agents – which would exacerbate the ongoing crisis at the southern border.

The Republicans are urging Biden to immediately suspend the mandates.

"We have serious concerns about your vaccine mandate for Federal employees and how it will impact the already understaffed and overworked United States Border Patrol and our overall national security," the Republicans say in a letter obtained by Fox News.

Biden announced measures in September that will require federal workers and private sector workers in businesses with more than 100 employees be vaccinated or take a COVID test weekly. It is expected to affect more than 100 million Americans, and has led to fears of staff shortages in multiple sectors.

"We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin and your refusal has cost all of us," Biden said from the White House, defending the measures. "This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you."

More recently he has dismissed the arguments from those who oppose vaccine mandates on the basis of "freedom."

"I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID," Biden said last month, mocking what he sees as the attitude of mandate opponents. "No, I mean, come on, freedom." Border Patrol agents on horseback. (Fox News/Bill Melugin) In their letter to Biden, the lawmakers note the migrant surge — which has seen more than 1.7 million migrant encounters in Fiscal Year 2021 — which has led to additional deployments to the border to manage the crisis.

That, they say, could be worsened by the vaccine mandate if thousands of Border Patrol agents lose or leave their jobs.

"Despite these staffing issues, thousands of Border Patrol agents are at risk of losing their jobs because of your ill-conceived policy," they argue. "This mandate is wholly incongruent with the principles of individual choice and medical freedom, puts families in our districts at risk of financial ruin, and threatens our national security by flooding our communities with undocumented, unvetted migrants." They describe forcing mandates on Border Patrol agents at such a time, as "not only irresponsible, but is a dereliction of your duty as Commander-in-Chief."

"Sadly, while we have seen countless members of your own party malign our Border Patrol agents for years, punishing these agents for their personal medical choices would constitute a full-frontal assault on our border agents and further reinforce your utter abandonment of our southern border," they argue.


They call on Biden to "immediately" suspend vaccine mandates for Border Patrol "or any first responder tasked with securing our border and addressing the ongoing border crisis."

They also request the White House provide information on vaccination rates for […]

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